Thursday, November 7, 2019

Spain - Consuegra, Cordoba and the hill country to Granada

This is a continuation, part two, of our trip to Spain. We are in Toledo. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2005, we got a taxi for Lisa Delong at 7:30 a.m. to take her to the train station for a ride back to Madrid where she will catch a flight home to London. 

We started a long drive south and almost from the beginning we were in fog of varying degrees of intensity which made it difficult to navigate (pre-Google Earth and other internet driving instructions - at least for us). Our first stop was 40 miles south, in Consuegra, the Province of La Mancha, which contains the real castle that the fictional Don Quixote visited. There were approximately a dozen windmills, but it was so foggy that we couldn't see them until we were right next to them.
Windmill in Consuegra
The castle, built in the 12th century by the Knights of San Juan, the Spanish branch of the Knight's Hospitallers of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, looked like it must have some living history performances and there was a lot of construction/renovation going on. 
Andrew in a doorway of the castle. 
Judy on some stairs.
Andrew looking through a keyhole. 
Judy and Andrew with some props.
From Consuegra we drove 168 miles south, then southwest, to Cordoba, one of the previously Muslim  dominated cities of Andalusia. We had a horrible time getting to the old city center and then parking. We visited the Mezquita (Spanish for mosque), originally a Muslim mosque that was later taken over by the Catholics and turned into a Cathedral, now known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, Cathedral of the Catholic Diocese of Cordoba.
Bridge over the Guadalquivir River to the Mezquita.
The Mezquita
The Mezquita from the bridge.
Bell tower of the Mezquita
There are 800 red and white striped arches inside, supported by a vast number of pillars. We loved the ceilings - so ornate with geometric shapes and curlicues. Unfortunately, it was crawling with people, especially school kids, mostly teenagers, which made it less appealing. 
An example of the beautiful striped arches.
Andrew in the Mezquita
The altar
The old mihrab, from when it was a mosque.
Beautiful ceiling. 
The city itself was more tourist-trappy. Judy was nabbed by a woman who handed her a sprig of rosemary, then proceeded to read her palm ("long life, much success, good love..."), then demanded money. We also saw a car crash - one guy rear-ended another with a fair amount of damage to the guilty car. We tried to get into the Alcazar, but it was closed for siesta and we decided to leave. 
Wall to the Alcazar.
We had ice cream in a long, spiky cone (Judy had triple chocolate). The atmosphere is a bit like California - orange trees, wild teens and very warm weather. 

We drove southeast along the N-432 from Cordoba through the beautiful hill country of Spain, to Granada, a distance of 110 miles, passing through small towns like Baena, Alcaudete and Alcala la Real.
A town on a ridge in the mountains. 
One of the small towns was full of British people who spoke English and we stopped in a restaurant there with English speaking proprietors for lunch. Baena, a completely white city that covered a large hill was especially beautiful. 
Baena Castle
We saw miles and miles of olive groves, even high up on the mountains, and yellow fields of blooming mustard dotted with blood red poppies. 
Red poppy
We stopped for gas - 39 Euro to fill the tank about three-quarters, about $52.00. Ouch.

We arrived in Granada and stayed at the Ibis Hotel. We took an evening walk to the Carrefour which had an unbelievable amount of cheese and sausage and 4 to 5 tables of about 50 kinds of fish on great piles of ice.
Sausage at the Carrefour.
Jamul Iberica at Carrefour.
Fish on ice at Carrefour.
We paid 5 Euro for an hour of internet time and Judy wrote to Sam. We are frustrated with American Express which appears to have put a hold on our card. 

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